Monday, March 3, 2008
Our Miss Wiley
In our family, we have had Pembroke Welsh Corgi dogs for many years. We have had five corgis over the years. Our first corgi was a red & white we named Scallowag, who was a wonderful dog but could not be cured of wandering and so eventually we had to find him a new home located farther from a 4 lane road. We had our fluffy tricolor Tessie for many years, and she & Scally produced a litter of puppies with a little help from the vet. Years later she developed cancer and we had to have her put down - which was very sad, but we were assuaged somewhat by the puppy spirits of young Rupert who had come to our home by way of the local animal shelter.
Someone pushed Rupert under the fence at the shelter when it was closed and drove away. He popped back out again and wandered down the road to the nearest neighbor, who kept him out of harms way until the shelter was open again. They called us to see if this might be one of our pups - they said they had a full grown female red & white corgi. I went to see this dog and found a half grown male! I asked if anyone had looked under this dog yet - being so low to the ground, he wouldn't bother to lift his leg to pee until he got a little older.
I knew when I saw him that he belonged in our family, but we had to wait over a week until the official two weeks had passed, and then he came to live with us. That was about 10 years ago. Rupert is my Buddha Dog.
We had a young female tricolor we called Zora for about a year, but she developed a bad habit of running after cars. We kept her close to the house for 6 months or more after this started, but one day she was accidentally left outside during a thunderstorm and bolted towards the highway, a half mile away. She had been lucky before, but not this time.
About 5 years ago we saw an ad in the local Valley Trader for a free corgi and called the number listed. This family had a female red & white and they were looking for a home with no female dogs, because she fought with the females at their farm. We brought her home and she fought with Rupert over food, but with some patient training she learned to stick to her own food bowl and not to lunge on every treat that was offered.
She was the most expensive free dog we ever had, with two complicated surgeries and a few other doozie vet bills, but she was a sweet dog and settled into our home well. She and Rupert have been buddies at home and at our office for 5 or 6 years. They have been to the beach with our family and enjoyed occasional hikes. In October they accompanied Peter & I all the way to the top of Old Rag Mountain - a long, steep hike for two short-legged dogs!
Wiley has been slowing down over the last month or two, but she started to really drag about a month ago. The vet ran some blood tests but everything looked normal. He suggested pancreatitis or a tumor based on a small abdominal swelling. He suggested feeding her twice a day on a mild special food and adding some supplements to her diet. This seemed to help her a little, but her appetite was indifferent for the last week and then Friday she stopped eating and drinking altogether.
Saturday she couldn't walk, and that was heartbreaking. Peter & I stayed close to her all day Saturday & Sunday. She was calm and mostly quiet, getting up out of her bed occasionally to totter around. Rupert watched her closely, and barked if she got stuck under furniture, alerting us to come and help. Eventually we put her in the dog carrier so she could burrow into the corners safely, and on Sunday evening she passed away.
We will miss her. She was a good dog and a sweet presence in our lives.